Paris St Germain captain Marquinhos insists they cannot afford to waste the opportunity of securing a place in the Champions League knockout stages.

The Ligue 1 side face Group F leaders Borussia Dortmund in Germany knowing victory will see them progress as winners, while a draw – providing Newcastle do not beat AC Milan – would be enough to see them through as runners-up.

There is even the fail-safe of a draw on Tyneside putting them through regardless of their own result but Marquinhos wants the team the seize the initiative themselves.

“If I thought this team didn’t have the character to win, I would have stayed at home,” he said.

“This is the type of match that everyone wants to play. Destiny is in our hands.

“It’s the only trophy missing for me here. It’s the dream of many players. We must not let (the chance to win) a trophy go to waste.”

PSG will be without the suspended Ousmane Dembele while a late decision will be made on Goncalo Ramos, who has flu and did not train at Signal Iduna Park.

But head coach Luis Enrique is confident even if the Portugal international does not make it he has enough quality in his squad to inflict Dortmund’s first home Champions League defeat in over two years.

“With the squad I have, it’s always easier to replace an absent player,” he said.

“It will never be an excuse. I will never complain about the absence of a player.”

PSG have yet to win the Champions League, which remains the holy grail for their Qatari owners, but aside from finishing runners-up and semi-finalists in 2019-20 and 2020-21 they have not made it past the last 16 since 2016.

Luis Enrique is the fifth head coach since then to be tasked with winning Europe’s elite club competition but having won it with Barcelona he knows all about high expectations.

“The pressure at PSG is on a daily basis but the preparation for the match remains the same; we will work on the type of football we want to play, the things we want to see happen in the match,” he added.

“I am in a very calm state of mind and with the dream and the hope that we are going to have a great match.

“We saw the qualities of the opponent (in PSG’s 2-0 win at home) but we also saw that they have difficulty defending.

“We have scored in all our matches in the competition and tomorrow the aim is to try to win.”

Randal Kolo Muani returned to haunt former club Nantes with a late winner to send Paris St Germain into their Champions League showdown against Borussia Dortmund on the back of a victory.

The 25-year-old came off the bench at the Parc des Princes to earn PSG an eighth successive Ligue 1 win which left the reigning champions six points clear of second-placed Monaco ahead of Wednesday night’s crucial trip to Germany.

Mostafa Mohamed had earlier cancelled out Bradley Barcola’s fine opener as the visitors threatened to build upon last weekend’s superb 1-0 win over Nice in new head coach Jocelyn Gourvennec’s first game in charge, but ultimately they left on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline.


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With first-choice keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma suspended following his red card at Le Havre and potential replacements Keylor Navas and Alexandre Letellier injured, PSG boss Luis Enrique, who had skipper Marquinhos available after injury, handed 22-year-old Arnau Tenas a first senior start
in goal.

Kylian Mbappe underwent treatment on the pitch after feeling discomfort during the warm-up but he showed no ill-effects, forcing a save from Nantes keeper Alban Lafont inside the opening 20 seconds as the hosts flexed their muscles early on.

However, they lacked precision in the final third and with the visitors organised and dogged, genuine chances were at a premium as the half unfolded.

Indeed, it took a fingertip save by Tenas to keep out Florent Mollet’s dipping 15th-minute strike and although defender Eray Comert had to make an important block to deny Mbappe seconds later, Nantes were more than holding their own.

Lee Kang-in curled a 25th-minute shot harmlessly across Lafont’s goal when a cross might have been the better option, but the keeper was a relieved man 14 minutes before the break when he came to punch Lee’s free-kick away and saw Vitinha loop the loose ball over both him and his crossbar as he back-pedalled.

But he was beaten four minutes before the break when Barcola exchanged passes with Vitinha to get in behind defender Marcus Coco and then curled a shot across Lafont and inside the far post.

Achraf Hakimi saw a volley blocked by Jean-Kevin Duverne and Mbappe miskicked with an acrobatic attempt in stoppage time as the home side turned on the style, but with no tangible reward.

Mbappe was appealing in vain for a 54th-minute penalty after exchanging passes with Barcola and surging into the box before going to ground, and his disappointment increased within seconds when Mohamed powered a header past the helpless Tenas from Mollet’s corner.


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Mohamed tested Tenas from distance as Nantes sensed an opportunity, but Barcola might have claimed a second goal of the night when he raced in on goal and chipped the ball over the advancing Lafont, but into the side-netting.

A frustrated Mbappe saw a second penalty claim waved away after colliding with Jean-Charles Castelletto with 22 minutes remaining, but his side regained the lead with seven minutes remaining when Lee picked out Lucas Hernandez at the far post and although Lafont saved his header, Kolo Muani stabbed home the rebound.

Mollet headed straight at Tenas amid a late flurry, but PSG saw out time to claim a hard-fought win.

Paris St Germain’s teenage sensation Warren Zaire-Emery is set for a swift return to action – less than three weeks after suffering an injury playing for France.

The 17-year-old midfielder was initially expected to be sidelined for the remainder of 2023 due to a sprained ankle on his international debut – a 14-0 win over Gibraltar – on November 20.

But PSG boss Luis Enrique confirmed Zaire-Emery is in contention to feature in Saturday evening’s Ligue 1 match against Nantes.

“Warren Zaire-Emery is doing well,” the head coach told a press conference.

“He trained well. He is available. It is fantastic news for the players, for the team.”

While there was positive news on Zaire-Emery, who has scored twice in 11 league outings this term, PSG have issues in goal.

Former Spain Under-21 keeper Arnau Tenas is in line to make his first senior start as Gianluigi Donnarumma is suspended following his red card in last weekend’s 2-0 win at Le Havre, while Keylor Navas and Alexandre Letellier are injured.

Enrique has backed 22-year-old rookie Tenas, who came off the bench following Donnarumma’s dismissal, to fill the void.

“I’m happy to have so many good players around me,” said Enrique.

“Regarding Arnau, it’s important to highlight that he worked hard to be ready when we needed him.

“That’s what happened last week, he turned up. We know how good he is, and he works hard to be ready at any given moment.”

PSG have won seven league matches in a row ahead of the weekend game at Parc des Princes.

The fixture comes four days before the league leaders attempt to secure progression to the last 16 of the Champions League away at Borussia Dortmund.

Enrique insists his side are not looking beyond ninth-place Nantes, who last week appointed Jocelyn Gourvennec as their new manager following the departure of Pierre Aristouy.

Gourvennec secured a 1-0 victory over Nice in his first match to end the club’s poor run of form, which had brought just a single point from the previous four games.

“The game against Nantes is a big one, and we have another big game in a few days’ time but we’re focused on Saturday’s game,” said Enrique.

“Nantes have got a new manager, who has changed a few things around but will still want his team to perform well against us.

“It’s important for us to play well at home in order to prepare for the game against Dortmund in the best way possible.”

Spain midfielder Fabian Ruiz is unavailable as he undergoes further tests after dislocating his right shoulder against Le Havre, while Achraf Hakimi missed training on Friday due to personal reasons.

Presnel Kimpembe and Nuno Mendes remain sidelined but Marquinhos is available to return following three matches out with a hamstring problem.

What the papers say

Real Madrid are reportedly ready to offer Kylian Mbappe a contract, but it comes with a deadline. The Daily Mail, citing AS, says the Spanish giants are committed to offering the Paris St Germain forward a deal before the expiration of his current deal next summer. However, Real are expecting a firm answer to their offer by January 15 at the latest.

The Mail, this time via Tuttosport, also says Juventus are prepared to withdraw from talks to sign Manchester United forward Jadon Sancho. According to the paper, bosses at the Italian club are concerned by the 23-year-old’s potential price tag. Sancho was signed from Borussia Dortmund for £73million, and United would be determined to receive as much as possible in any transfer.

And The Sun reports 19-year-old United States and Hajduk Split attacking midfielder Rokas Pukstas has emerged on Arsenal’s radar.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Richarlison: The Tottenham forward is attracting plenty of interest from the Saudi Pro League, according to the website 90 Min.

Hakan Calhanoglu: Calciomercato says West Ham would need to stump up more than £40m for the Inter Milan midfielder.

Kylian Mbappe inspired 10-man Paris St Germain to a 2-0 victory over Le Havre to send them four points clear of Nice at the top of Ligue 1.

PSG found themselves down to 10 men after just 10 minutes when goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was sent off for a high challenge on Josue Casimir.

The visitors went in front in the 23rd minute through Mbappe and while the hosts did their best to find an equaliser, Vitinha scored against the run of play in the 89th minute to seal three points.

Goalkeeper Lucas Chevalier saved two penalties as Lille claimed a 2-0 win at home to Metz.

The 22-year-old denied Simon Elisor before two goals in first-half stoppage time from Yusuf Yazici and Jonathan David put Lille in front.

More heroics from Chevalier 10 minutes into the second half to keep out Lamine Camara’s penalty helped preserve victory for the home side.

Monaco kept pace with PSG with a 2-0 win over 10-man Montpellier, who saw Boubakar Kouyate sent off in the second half, while Brest beat Clermont 3-0 and Toulouse played out a 1-1 draw with Lorient.

In LaLiga, Hector Bellerin was shown a red card in the 27th minute of Real Betis’ goalless draw at Almeria, while Mallorca and Alaves also drew a blank.

Rasmus Kristensen scored the winner for Roma as they came from behind to beat Sassuolo 2-1 in Serie A.

Matheus Henrique fired in a first-half opener for Sassuolo, but it all came undone after the break when Daniel Boloca was dismissed and Paulo Dybala scored from the spot, before Kristensen fired home a second.

A Lucas Beltran spot-kick and further goals from Riccardo Sottil and Giacomo Bonaventura earned Fiorentina a 3-0 victory over Salernitana, while Udinese and Verona drew 3-3.

Sixth-placed Bologna looked poised for victory at Lecce but had to settle for a point after Roberto Piccoli’s penalty in the 10th minute of second-half stoppage time cancelled out Charalampos Lykogiannis’ 68th-minute opener.

In the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund were on course to leapfrog fourth-placed Leipzig with a vital victory at leaders Bayer Leverkusen after Julian Ryerson fired the visitors ahead after five minutes.

But Victor Boniface salvaged a point when he levelled late in the second half.

Kylian Mbappe’s first-half strike helped lift 10-man Paris St Germain to a 2-0 victory at Le Havre after Gianluigi Donnarumma was sent off 10 minutes into the Ligue 1 contest.

Hosts Le Havre at times came close to an equaliser, but instead saw their five-game unbeaten streak snapped while making it five games in six without a goal.

Vitinha netted against the run of play in the 89th minute to seal the result for PSG, who have now won seven consecutive league matches for the first time since September 2021.

The result gave the league leaders a boost after Tuesday’s disappointing Champions League draw against Newcastle, with the Parisians now four points ahead of second-placed Nice.

Le Havre wasted a golden chance after the ball pinged around the 18-yard box before landing at the feet of Gautier Lloris, who would have netted an opener but for the quick reaction of Carlos Soler to clear off the line.

Then goalkeeper Donnarumma, already under scrutiny, completely misjudged a challenge on Josue Casimir and immediately saw red for a high boot.

On came Arnau Tenas to make his PSG debut, replacing forward Bradley Barcola, who boss Luis Enrique decided would be the necessary sacrifice.

The visitors would not be pinned back and Mbappe was first denied by a good save by Arthur Desmas with a left-footed effort but made no mistake with his second attempt, firing through three blue shirts from centre before the ball clipped the inside of the post and crossed in for a 23rd-minute opener.

Mbappe had the ball in the back of the net again before the break but the offside flag was raised, while Casimir could only watch agonisingly on when what should have been an equaliser sailed just wide of the post after finding himself in space inside the area.

Le Havre, desperate get something out of the man advantage, applied more pressure to begin the second half as Yassine Kechta forced Tenas to tip the ball over the crossbar, while Mohamed Bayo sent a weak effort into the arms of the replacement PSG goalkeeper.

Ousmane Dembele nearly doubled the Parisians’ advantage, his effort clipping the edge of the post before going wide, before Tenas saved Danilo Pereira from scoring an own goal after Bayo’s attempt took a deflection off the PSG defender.

Pereira would soon prevent substitute Nabil Alioui a chance at levelling, while the hosts showed off their own defensive prowess when Christopher Operi prevented a threatening Dembele from getting a decent shot away.

Alioui skied an effort then twice-tested Tenas, who was quick to react at his near post as the hosts desperately searched for an equaliser, Antoine Joujou side-footing the ball past the post before Alioui tried again.

But there was no coming back after Vitinha’s strike took a deflection off Lloris and in to cap off a disappointing ending to a once-promising afternoon for the hosts.

Luis Enrique laughed off suggestions Paris St Germain lack a cutting edge ahead of a tricky Ligue 1 trip to stingy Le Havre.

PSG registered 31 shots during their midweek Champions League clash with Newcastle but required a controversial late penalty from Kylian Mbappe to salvage a 1-1 draw.

The reigning champions are the highest scorers in France’s top-flight, having recorded an impressive 34 goals in just 13 games.

Head coach Enrique called for perspective in the wake of a frustrating midweek meeting with the Magpies and insisted he would be more concerned if his team were not creating chances.

“This is very funny,” the Spaniard replied with a bemused expression when asked about a potential finishing problem among his squad at his pre-match press conference.

“A team that scores three goals per game (on average) and generates 10 clear chances in the Champions League against a team like Newcastle?

“If we have a finishing problem, what does that mean for everyone else?

“Football is a game of mistakes. I would be worried if we weren’t making goal-scoring chances.

“Sometimes we will score more than others, that is life. We can’t all be inspired every time. I’m not worried about that.

“Sometimes we missed good chances, that is how it is. But we need to be sensible here.”

PSG are on a run of six successive league wins following last Friday’s thumping 5-2 success over Monaco.

Meanwhile, Le Havre have registered four goalless draws in their last five outings but sit in the top half of the table following promotion last term.

Enrique believes the Newcastle game will serve as good preparation for breaking down stubborn opposition on Sunday afternoon in Normandy.

“Le Havre are a team that don’t concede many goals and don’t score many either,” he said.

“I think they’ll defend with a low block, so good movement will be necessary.

“We’ve seen, especially against Newcastle, that even when the opponent defends deep, we can still manage to create a lot of chances.

“Therefore, it will be important to be well-positioned, to move the ball well, and to get our shots on target. It’s going to be a difficult match.”

PSG remain without defender Marquinhos due to a torn hamstring.

Warren Zaire-Emery, Nuno Mendes and Presnel Kimpembe are also still sidelined, while goalkeeper Alexandre Letellier (groin) faces a fitness test.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has warned more VAR would “ruin” football after finding himself on the wrong end of a controversial decision.

Football’s lawmakers are considering options to extend the system’s use at the same time as a debate over its effectiveness in its current form rages on.

The Magpies were denied a Champions League victory at Paris St Germain on Tuesday after Polish referee Szymon Marciniak was asked to review a decision not to award a penalty for handball against Tino Livramento by VAR official Thomas Kwiatkowski and changed his mind to allow Kylian Mbappe to level in stoppage time.

Asked if he would like to see more or less VAR, head coach Howe said: “I’d like to see less VAR.

“I don’t have an issue with offsides because that is as close as it can be to being right, whether you agree with the decision, the lines give you a black and white yes or no. The rest, I’m not in favour.

“I still think it’s just another person’s opinion against another person’s opinion. It’s very subjective. I’d like to see less. I definitely wouldn’t want to see more because I think it would ruin the game.”

Kwiatkowski had been due to oversee Wednesday night’s Real Sociedad versus Red Bull Salzburg game in the same competition, but was stood down, a decision which brought Howe, who revealed the club have contacted UEFA to seek clarity over the penalty award, little comfort.

He said: “That for me, with VAR is an issue – not enough power is given to the on-field decision, which in this case was correct.

“I still believe – I’m old-fashioned in this – that the on-field decision should be given a little bit more strength because the referee is there, he’s feeling the game, he’s managing the game in the middle and I think that is worth something.”

Howe’s comments came as he prepared his players for Saturday evening’s Premier League clash with Manchester United at St James’ Park still contemplating a lengthy injury list, but with no new additions after an attritional night at the Parc des Princes and with hopes high that midfielders Joe Willock and Sean Longstaff will be sidelined for weeks rather than months.

Newcastle have lost just one of their last five encounters in all competitions with the Red Devils, who also suffered Champions League disappointment 24 hours later when they squandered a 3-1 lead at Galatasaray to draw 3-3, although Erik ten Hag’s side have won five of their last six league games.

Asked if he and his players could use their burning sense of injustice from Paris as added motivation, Howe said: “I always want that sense that we are against everybody outside of Newcastle when we play. I think that helps us.

“That is a good mentality to have, that we are competing against everybody else. It’s certainly served us well to this point and if it helps any individual players, then great.”

VAR will have to be removed from football if officials cannot find ways to use the technology more effectively, says former England midfielder Darren Anderton.

The use of video assistant referees has come under the spotlight this season, with a series of high-profile errors marring games in the Premier League and across Europe.

In September, Luis Diaz was incorrectly denied a goal in Liverpool's loss to Tottenham due to a "significant human error" which refereeing body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) subsequently apologised for.

Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta made headlines when he described the decision to allow Newcastle United's winning goal against Arsenal as a "disgrace", while Wolves boss Gary O'Neil said he had "finally turned against VAR" on Monday after Fulham were awarded two highly contentious penalties against his team.

There was also controversy in the Champions League on Tuesday as Newcastle's Tino Livramento was harshly penalised for handball, allowing Kylian Mbappe to score a stoppage-time equaliser from the spot as Paris Saint-Germain rescued a 1-1 draw against the Magpies.

While Anderton believes VAR was brought in for the right reasons, he cited frustrating delays after goals and repeated mistakes as reasons why many wish to see the back of it.  

"I would have [liked VAR] in the FA Cup semi-final in 1993 when I got brought down!" Anderton, who was part of a Tottenham side beaten by Arsenal on that occasion, told Stats Perform.

"I think it's a good thing and the idea of it is good, to make the right decisions, but it's not happening and that's a problem. 

"There is nothing better than scoring a goal and you should be able to celebrate it and not worry that it's going to be chalked off.

"I feel like it's almost at a point now that whenever there's a goal scored, you're looking for something for it to be ruled out. I think that's sad. 

"I think that's sad for players to have to be that way because the adrenaline of scoring a goal in a Premier League game or for your country... there is no better feeling. 

"If it's taken away, it's taken away, but when you've got to stand there for three minutes, four minutes, you've got to be able to celebrate those moments. They're what you play the game for. 

"So unless it gets better, they're going to have to get rid of it, and that's wrong, because you do want the right decisions in football games."

While the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has been discussing expanding VAR's remit to include other incidents such as yellow cards and corners, Anderton has a different idea.

He suggested VAR should be part of a challenge system similar to that used in the NFL, saying: "I don't know whether you just go to a point where now, like in American football, managers get a challenge. 

"You get two or three challenges in the match so it doesn't become a hundred-minute football match. It's pretty crazy, and it's frustrating to watch. I'm with everyone on that."

The VAR official involved in the decision to award Paris St Germain a controversial last-gasp penalty to salvage a Champions League draw against Newcastle has been stood down from duty on Wednesday night.

The PA news agency understands Thomas Kwiatkowski will no longer be among the officials selected to oversee the Real Sociedad v Red Bull Salzburg match at the Anoeta Stadium.

Newcastle were within a few minutes of stoppage time of a famous victory at the Parc des Princes when a questionable handball decision against Tino Livramento handed Kylian Mbappe the chance to snatch a point, and it was one he took with some aplomb.

Asked if he felt a sense of injustice, Magpies boss Eddie Howe replied: “Yes, I do. It wasn’t the right decision in my opinion.

“There are so many things to take into account at that moment, the speed first. It was a ricochet that when it is slowed down, looks completely different to the live event.

“The ball hits his chest first, comes up and hits his hand. But his hand is not in an unnatural position, they (his hands) are down by his side, but he is in a running motion.

“I feel it is a poor decision and it’s hugely frustrating for us as you know how little time there is left in the game. There is nothing we can do about it now.”

The VAR official involved in the decision to award Paris St Germain a controversial last-gasp penalty to salvage a Champions League draw against Newcastle has been stood down from duty on Wednesday night.

The PA news agency understands Thomas Kwiatkowski will no longer be among the officials selected to oversee the Real Sociedad v Red Bull Salzburg match at the Anoeta Stadium.

Newcastle were within a few minutes of stoppage time of a famous victory at the Parc des Princes when a questionable handball decision against Tino Livramento handed Kylian Mbappe the chance to snatch a point, and it was one he took with some aplomb.

Asked if he felt a sense of injustice, Magpies boss Eddie Howe replied: “Yes, I do. It wasn’t the right decision in my opinion.

“There are so many things to take into account at that moment, the speed first. It was a ricochet that when it is slowed down, looks completely different to the live event.

“The ball hits his chest first, comes up and hits his hand. But his hand is not in an unnatural position, they (his hands) are down by his side, but he is in a running motion.

“I feel it is a poor decision and it’s hugely frustrating for us as you know how little time there is left in the game. There is nothing we can do about it now.”

Kieran Trippier cannot understand why the penalty which denied Newcastle a famous Champions League victory at Paris St Germain was given.

The 33-year-old England international was incredulous when Polish referee Szymon Marcimiak pointed to the spot after being asked to review an incident in which Timo Livramento blocked Ousmane Dembele’s cross deep into stoppage time and saw the ball ricochet off his chest onto the underside of his arm.

Kylian Mbappe scored from the spot with just seconds remaining to cancel out Alexander Isak’s first-half opener and snatch two priceless points from the Magpies’ grasp.

Trippier said: “It is disappointing, but we have to move on. I just try to enjoy football, but I am tired of discussing these matters, whether good or bad.

“Nothing can change it. The referee had the chance to go to the monitor, which he did, so I don’t understand it. From my point of view, it has come off his chest and onto his arm.

“I don’t understand what his decision was, even after the game. We tried to ask him. But we just have to move on and take it on the chin.”

Livramento, who turned in a fine individual display, was understandably distraught at the outcome, but his team-mates swiftly rallied around him.

“Tino is fine,” Trippier said of the 21-year-old. “He is a strong kid who had an unbelievable game again.

“It is one of those where everybody knows it wasn’t a penalty. Of course it is disappointing because it was him in that moment. We said, ‘Listen it wasn’t a penalty, so get it out of your head’.”

Newcastle travelled to Paris once again without a host of key players through injury, but produced their best away performance of the competition to date.

In the cold light of day, a point represents a creditable return no matter the context, and they will host AC Milan at St James’ Park on December 13 knowing a win would take them through to the last 16 provided PSG do not beat Borussia Dortmund – who have already qualified – in Germany the same night.

“There are so many positives still to take,” Trippier said. “We didn’t make one sub so it was 11 v 16. The lads have given absolutely everything.

“We all just have to keep stepping up and giving everything for the team.”

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe will head into the Champions League showdown with AC Milan desperate to continue a journey which has captivated him.

Howe, who turned 46 on Wednesday, did so still ruminating on the controversial 1-1 draw at Paris St Germain on Tuesday evening, which left the Magpies needing to beat the Serie A giants at St James’ Park on December 13 and hope the French champions do not win at Borussia Dortmund if they are to emerge from Group F.

Newcastle had come within a few minutes of stoppage-time of a famous victory at the Parc des Princes when a questionable handball decision against Tino Livramento handed Kylian Mbappe the chance to snatch a point, and it was one he took with some aplomb.

However, asked afterwards how much he had enjoyed the competition to date and how keen he was to extend that adventure, Howe said: “I’ve loved every second of it and I’m desperate to stay in it.

“We have been thrown in at the deep end against high-class opposition, some great stadiums and brilliant atmospheres and we are desperate to stay in the competition, and to show a better version of ourselves. We’d love the opportunity to do it.”

Should the Magpies beat Milan, they would have eight points and that would mean PSG, who already have seven, would have to win in Germany against the already-qualified Bundesliga side as the Premier League club would have the better of the head-to-head if they finished level.

Howe was angry with the penalty decision, which he described as “poor”, but his sense of injustice masked a belief that there could be another twist to come.

He said: “I think we have to look that we’re still in the competition. The first thing to do is look at that because it could have been different tonight, so that game now is going to take on huge significance for lots of different reasons.

“We’re back at home and we’re excited about the game when it comes around, so they’re huge positives for us. That’s why I don’t think we should lose sight of that despite the disappointing ending.”

The Magpies travelled to Paris with a raft of key players still injured and so little experience on the bench that the team which started also finished, some of them clearly running on fumes.

However, Howe was proud of the resilience they showed as PSG piled on the pressure, with goalkeeper Nick Pope making a series of fine saves while the men in front of him defended for dear life until fate intervened.

Their manager, who now faces the task of lifting the team for Saturday’s league clash with Manchester United at St James’, paid tribute to the spirit within the camp, which was exemplified in the face of a French onslaught.

He said: “We’ve shown that despite the huge number of players – quality players – not being here, the group has stepped up and given more.

“We’ve shown that the spirit and togetherness and the willingness to fight for each other is as good as I’ve ever seen it at any football club since I’ve been involved in the game, and we’re very proud to represent Newcastle, as I’ve said many times before, but especially on the European stage.

“Hopefully we can give them a reason for everyone to be proud of us back in Newcastle.”

Eddie Howe was left fuming after Paris St Germain denied Newcastle a priceless Champions League victory with a controversial stoppage-time penalty.

The Magpies were heading for a famous 1-0 win at the Parc des Princes until Polish referee Szymon Marciniak awarded a spot-kick against Tino Livramento after a VAR review, allowing Kylian Mbappe to level in the eighth and final minute of added time.

Howe, who said in a television interview that the official had been placed under “extreme” pressure by the PSG players, labelled a decision which cost his side two precious points “poor” in his post-match press conference.

Asked if he felt a sense of injustice, the Newcastle boss said: “Yes, I do. It wasn’t the right decision in my opinion.

“There are so many things to take into account at that moment, the speed first. It was a ricochet that when it is slowed down, looks completely different to the live event.

“The ball hits his chest first, comes up and hits his hand. But his hand is not in an unnatural position, they [his hands] are down by his side, but he is in a running motion.

“I feel it is a poor decision and it’s hugely frustrating for us as you know how little time there is left in the game. There is nothing we can do about it now.”

The pivotal moment arrived in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Ousmane Dembele attempted to deliver the ball across the Newcastle penalty area and saw it hit Livramento’s side and rear up on to the underside of his arm.

Mr Marciniak, who had earlier seen decisions not to award spot-kicks for an Anthony Gordon challenge on Achraf Hakimi and a shout for handball against teenager midfielder Lewis Miley upheld, was advised to review the incident and this time decided to award the penalty.

The Magpies, who had taken a 24th-minute lead through Alexander Isak, defended it for grim life until the last-gasp controversy, although they needed Pope to be at his brilliant best on several occasions.

They now need to beat AC Milan at home on December 13 and hope PSG do not win away to Borussia Dortmund to progress.

Asked if that was something to cling on to, Howe, who celebrates his 46th birthday on Wednesday, said: “Yes, I think that’s absolutely right. In the next couple of days, that will become more relevant in our thoughts, I think.


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“When the draw came out, it was the ‘group of death’ and I don’t think many people gave us a chance of qualifying from it and sitting here now, I’m a little bit frustrated that it’s not in our hands because when I look back at the two Dortmund games, I felt we could have done better in those matches.

“I don’t think it’s the time for that, I think it’s probably a time to be positive and to say that if we can beat Milan, then good things can happen from it.”

For PSG boss Luis Enrique, there was a mixture of relief and frustration on a night when his side created a host of chances but were unable to take any of them until Mbappe’s late intervention.

Enrique said: “Without a doubt, we played a very great game. We deserved to win. We played better than Newcastle. The result does not reflect what happened on the pitch.

“It’s not basketball. We are one of the teams in Europe that scores the most. Sometimes the ball doesn’t want to go in.

“Sometimes the game looked like table tennis. I couldn’t believe we couldn’t score, but we carried on despite the frustration.”

Former Newcastle skipper Alan Shearer has blasted the decision which handed Paris St German a Champions League get out of jail card against his home town club “disgusting” and “s***”.

Shearer, the Magpies’ record goalscorer, voiced his frustration on social media after Polish referee Szymon Marciniak was asked to review his decision not to award a penalty when Ousmane Dembele’s cross hit Tino Livramento in the ribs and then hit the underside of his arm. The referee belatedly pointed to the spot.

Kylian Mbappe, who had been denied repeatedly by goalkeeper Nick Pope and his defenders, made no mistake from 12 yards in the eighth minute of stoppage time at the Parc des Princes to secure a 1-1 draw.

An unimpressed Shearer wrote on his X – formerly Twitter – account: “Do me a f****** favour man. What a load of s***t.

“A superb battling away performance from every single player. Shouldn’t be spoilt by a disgusting decision. Well done @NUFC.”

Shearer’s former Newcastle team-mate Shay Given was equally unhappy with the decision, which brought back memories of the night in Paris that Thierry Henry’s handball which went unnoticed and cost the Republic of Ireland a place at the 2010 World Cup finals.

Given posted on X: “What a performance from the Toon. Terrible decision to give a penalty, not the first time I’ve left Paris with a controversial handball decision.”

Former Newcastle and England striker Michael Owen also criticised the penalty decision and the way the handball rule is being interpreted.

Owen wrote: “Heartbreaking for @NUFC. Such a good performance. Never in a million years is that a penalty.

“We are further away from applying consistency to the handball rule than we’ve ever been.”

TNT Sports pundit Ally McCoist branded Mr Marciniak’s decision “a disgrace”.

McCoist said: “It comes off his chest, then hits his left elbow. If that’s a penalty, we might as well forget about it.

“If we’re giving penalty kicks for that, it’s a disgrace. The whole night will be remembered by that decision.”

Colleague Jermaine Jenas, who spent more than three years of his playing career at St James’ Park, added: “It is a shocking decision – not in any walk of life is that a penalty. What is meant to do with his arms – wrap them around his back?

“I am fuming.”

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